Hormone imbalance can occur when women have too much or too little of certain hormones, especially when they hit menopause. It can start at the age of 45 and last for up to 11 years, in some cases.
If you are suffering from hormonal imbalance, you may have symptoms ranging from weight gain, sleeplessness to hot flashes or anxiety. Some of the hormones that can be out of balance are oestrogen, thyroxine, cortisol, insulin or progesterone.
A few years ago, my hormone levels fluctuated to the point where sometimes I didn’t know what was going on with my previously stable body!
Luckily, I found out that the symptoms don’t last forever, and they can be treated naturally. The following are some of the common symptoms you may also experience and top tips that can help you ease them.
Common symptoms of hormone imbalance in females
Hormones imbalance can cause unexplained weight gain
When menstruation stops, it’s usually a relief. Getting through the sometimes-uncomfortable symptoms of menopause is the next step. As a result of hormone fluctuations, most menopausal women may experience ‘unintentional weight gain’.
From the age of 45 – 50, women may experience a drop in oestrogen with the arrival of menopause. An imbalance of the hormone oestrogen can be slowing down your metabolism, making you feel like you are stacking on the weight.
Regardless of how much or how little you eat, it becomes harder to shift. The extra weight is deposited around the belly, resulting in what is commonly known as ‘middle-aged spread’. Read:
- Metabolism Changes During Menopause Can Make You Gain Weight
- The Best Ways to Lose Weight Naturally during Menopause
- How can I balance my hormones naturally during menopause?
- Signs of premature and early menopause
Another reason you may gain weight at this time is the need for comfort food. Women sometimes reach for ‘comfort food’ to help stave off the feelings of anxiety or depression. These feelings can be brought about by menopause and hormone imbalances.
Comfort foods are traditionally those that contain salt, sugar, and fats. They taste great going down but can leave you feeling less than healthy.
Hormonal changes may be responsible for insomnia
If you climb into bed every night with hopes of a decent night’s sleep only to awaken at 2:00 am, you are not alone. Approximately 61% of women going through menopause report periods of sleeplessness (or insomnia) due to hormone changes. Read:
- How can you sleep better during menopause
- Ashwagandha: A Natural Remedy for Female Hormones
- Beginners Guide To Ashwagandha in Australia
- How can I Solve My Sleeping Problem Naturally?
Thyroid hormone (thyroxine) production is one factor that can affect your biological clock, which is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. An underactive thyroid, also called Hypothyroidism, can cause insomnia. It happens when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroxine.
Sleep deprivation can result in a general feeling of tiredness the next day. It makes us get to the end of any day more difficult. The condition known as ‘brain fog’ or a feeling of forgetfulness also comes as a result. Try to aim for at least 7 hours of sleep with as few interruptions as possible.
If you are having trouble fixing your poor sleep quality, Chamomile tea is nature's relaxant. A flavonoid called apigenin, which is the magic ingredient in chamomile, may help induce sleepiness. This fragrant tea can also reduce the signs of anxiety and stress when sipped 45 minutes before bed.
Hormone imbalance can result in night sweats
Sweat is the natural way our body works to cool things down. However, excessive sweating at night is irritating. Night sweats associated with menopause can be a signal that you have a hormone imbalance.
They come any time and are completely independent of outside temperatures or the number of blankets you have on your bed.
Hypothalamus, which controls the body’s core temperature, creates sweat to ‘cool’ us down when we are not hot in the first place. A drop in oestrogen level can confuse the hypothalamus and make it think that the body needs to be cooled.
An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can be another cause of night sweats. It occurs when the thyroid gland secretes an excessive amount of thyroxine.
The sudden change in thyroid hormone unnecessarily speeds up many functions in the body, and sweating is an example.
While hyperthyroidism is common in men and women, middle-aged women are eight times more likely to have the condition.
Mood swings can be a symptom of a hormone imbalance
Being grumpy and irritated sometimes is a part of how we cope with our busy lives. You may feel like you are biting your tongue all day because you just want to snap at someone. Unexplained irritation or mood swings could mean you are on the receiving end of a hormone imbalance. Read:
- How does menopause affect you emotionally?
- Why is anxiety worse during menopause?
- How can Beetroot Help with Hormone Imbalances?
- How Do I Get Rid Of The Odour Down There?
Mood swings come with lowered oestrogen and heightened cortisol levels that accompany this stage of life. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women going through menopause can also cause you to put extra strain on your heart and body, causing shifts in mood.
Besides, lack of sleep, which is also a sign of hormone imbalance, can be responsible for this feeling, though it is not the only catalyst.
Moreover, with menopause comes many physical changes, and it is a time in your life when you may be caring for ageing parents or experiencing the ‘empty nest’ for the first time.
It is a vicious cycle for women because the added stress of ageing and losing family members can cause additional stress. Throw in some hormonal imbalances, and you have a perfectly valid reason for being grumpy or anxious.
Hormones can cause hot flashes
According to this study among mid-life women, hot flash was the most common symptom in menopause that roughly 70% of the women experienced. A fluctuation in oestrogen during this time can mean that hot flashes are more frequent.
A hot flush could be described as feeling like you are cooking from the inside out. It can last from a couple of minutes to over half an hour.
This irritating symptom can leave you feeling hot and bothered when everyone else is rugged up in the winter woollies! Read:
The body’s thermostat, the hypothalamus, becomes out of control with lower oestrogen levels. An increased heart rate and glowing face usually herald the coming of hot flashes, the most annoying of all menopause symptoms.
Besides, it is not just low oestrogen that causes hot flashes. It can also be an indication of too much oestrogen and not enough progesterone. Every woman is different, but some women have reported that hot flashes have continued for 7 to 11 years.
Vaginal dryness can be a sign of imbalanced hormones
If your vagina feels sore or itchy and you experience discomfort when you have sex, you could have a hormone imbalance. Read:
Vaginal dryness due to hormone imbalance, also known as vaginal atrophy, can be an embarrassing and painful symptom of menopause. It can occur at any stage of menopause.
The hormone oestrogen helps keep the vaginal tissue lubricated and moist. When oestrogen levels are low or out of balance, they cause the skin inside your vagina walls to thin and stop producing natural moisture, causing vaginal dryness.
Another symptom of this unpleasant and sometimes embarrassing side effect of menopause could be the desire to pee more often. You are more likely to contract a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) at this time. Other symptoms include a narrowing or closing of the vaginal entry.
If you no longer want to have sex, is that a sign of hormone imbalances?
With a hormone imbalance and the onset of menopause, many women no longer want to have sex as much as they used to.
The drop in the hormone oestrogen affects vaginal lubrication. This can sometimes make it painful to have sex.
Other factors include not being aroused as easily anymore with touch or bladder control problems. Losing control of your bladder can also be a symptom of lower oestrogen.
Symptoms of hormone imbalances in women brought about by menopause are wide-ranging and different for everyone. You may only be experiencing one or two symptoms, while other women experience the whole range.
Other symptoms of hormone imbalances
Loss of appetite: a sign of hormone imbalances
Some women reported feeling hungry all the time, while others lost their appetite altogether during menopause.
Oestrogen is not known as an appetite stimulant.
However, lower levels of oestrogen can cause a decrease in leptin (appetite suppressant) levels, which means changes to your appetite. The imbalance of that hormone would suggest that you will feel like eating more.
But as we know, every woman is different, and hormone imbalances affect us all in different ways.
Some women also report feeling nauseous during menopause due to low oestrogen. Nausea has the opposite effect in that you don’t always feel like eating. Not eating can mean that weight loss, not weight gain, is the issue for some.
Hormone changes can cause a rapid heartbeat
The menopausal hormone imbalance in women can cause heart palpitations.
Palpitations are experienced as a quickened heart rate or fluttering feeling in your chest. These irregular heartbeats can occur whether you are lying down or standing.
They can be anxiety induced. But in most cases, palpitations are harmless and perfectly normal.
The hormone epinephrine, which is also named adrenaline, causes your heart to speed up. When women are experiencing menopause, and their oestrogen levels are low, this can cause the adrenaline levels to rise. A rise in adrenaline can result in heart palpitations.
Oestrogen protects your heart and blood vessels. When we have lower levels, this can mean our heart needs a little extra care to protect against heart disease.
Always see a medical practitioner if you have concerns about heart irregularities.
Many of the symptoms of a hormone imbalance can also be experienced at other times in our life, and they are usually not an indication that something is wrong with us. Heart palpitations and appetite loss are not only the domain of the menopausal woman.
Relieve the signs of a hormone imbalance without taking Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is not for everyone. When you are experiencing the symptoms of a hormone imbalance due to menopause, you may wish to investigate a more natural way to balance your body without taking hormones.
Manage your diet to cope with hormone changes
A diet high in protein is important during times of low oestrogen production.
Protein is known to help activate hormones to control appetite. Getting enough protein can also increase your slow metabolism and burn excess body fat.
Consuming a diet lower in carbs and sugar can also assist your body to cope with the changes associated with hormone imbalances and menopause.
Sugary drinks and alcohol should be avoided or kept to a minimum. Substitute soda and alcohol for some refreshing teas, like this delicious Hormone Balance Tea Equilibre.
Besides, try using healthy fats in the form of olive oils, coconut, and nuts in your cooking. This can help to reduce the insulin in your body. Always avoid unhealthy trans fats.
A diet high in omega-3 can be very good for maintaining a healthy body. Eating fatty fish can reduce insulin and stress hormones in a menopausal body. Fish like salmon is a perfect vessel for omega-3.
Last but not least, enjoying eggs for breakfast may help lower your insulin levels. Scrambled eggs sprinkled with Ashwagandha powder do not only taste amazing, but they also boost insulin and lower stress levels!
Some herbal teas may help to reduce symptoms of menopause
Some herbal teas have been proven to be effective in easing menopausal symptoms.
- Green Tea is nature's healer. The antioxidants in this easy-to-prepare tea can help to reduce insulin levels which can be heightened when you have a hormone imbalance.
- Fenugreek Powder can be steeped in hot water and taken as tea or sprinkled on your cooking. This versatile herb can assist with weight loss as it is a natural appetite suppressant.
- Liquorice Root Tea can reduce the occurrence of hot flashes in women with a hormone imbalance.
- Ginkgo Biloba can raise oestrogen levels in women with low levels and a hormone imbalance. It also helps to improve mood swings.
Work out more to stay fit during and after menopause
You don’t have to tackle a marathon or take up extreme sports to get enough exercise for your menopausal body. Exercise can be as simple as cycling or walking instead of driving.
Aim for 30 minutes of walking a day to keep your blood flowing and contribute to a feeling of well-being. Read:
- How to prevent muscle loss during menopause
- Effective Herbs To Get Rid Of Water Retention In Legs
- Debloat Naturally and Flush Salt Out of Your Body Overnight
As we get older and our hormones can become out of balance, some weight-bearing exercise is also essential. You can do this by going to the gym or following your own weight routine at home to become more stable and stronger.
Always stay hydrated by drinking water or herbal teas like Marshmallow Root, known for its hydrating properties.
If hormone replacement therapy is not something you want, there are many alternatives you can try. It could be changing your diet, increasing exercise, or using the natural alternative of herbal teas.
Being a woman of ‘a certain age’ does not have to mean the end of your youth. You are only as old as you feel, right?
As you age, some lifestyle adjustments may need to be made to enable you to get through the sometimes difficult and uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.
All women experience hormone imbalances at some time in their lives. Your job is to make that path easy for yourself by taking advantage of the wonderful natural therapies you have at your fingertips.